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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Are all your clients grouped into one basket?

This week's podcast episode comes after a conversation I had with an old classmate from college. For the purpose of this episode let's call him “Bob”. During my conversation with Bob, he made mention of his boss. I immediately took note and asked him about it because I knew that Bob ran his own design business. It turns out that when Bob's three major clients all left him within a few month period he found himself unable to sustain his business. He enjoyed designing so much that he neglected the marketing and salesmanship side of the business and didn't have enough clients to fall back on. Bob had kept his design work in one basket and it came back to bite him.

That conversation led me to record this episode about diversifying your client base so that what happened to Bob doesn't happen to you.

What do you mean by basket?

In the context of this podcast, a basket is a metaphor for a demographic, industry, market segment or anywhere a client may fall into. For example, if all you do is create websites for dentists what happens when you run out of dentists in your area to design websites for. Or what happens if the dental industry creates a centralised website hub for all its dentists to use? If dentists are your only basket, then your business is in trouble.

You need to use more than one basket.

If you want to run a sustainable graphic design business you need to have a diverse client base so that if something happens to one group of clients you can continue with the rest. Hense the “more than one basket”

The way to accomplish this is to never stop selling yourself. Just because you have a few well paying clients is not an excuse to relax on your self-promotion. In fact, the opposite it true. When you're doing well is the best time to attract new work. Trust me, when you sitting in front of your computer twiddling your thumbs because you have nothing to do and no money coming in is not the time to start thinking of your marketing.

The best thing is, if you do this right, you'll never encounter any downtime at all in your business because you'll have so many clients that all you need to do is find a project from a different basket.

The trick is to find clients in different industries, different market segments and different demographics. Spreading your clients so that some are in one basket and others are in a different basket helps ease the burden should one industry collapse and you loose its business. It may hurt you financially but it won't break you.

What do you think of my basket metaphor?

Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment for this episode and let me know what you think.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Gabriel

There are many tips already given for someone wanting to break into the freelance design industry when going the self taught route such as creating self initiated design work and using that in a portfolio while continuing to learn. What about finding a design mentor when going the self taught route? Is it possible to find one and manage that relationship online or is it only possible in person? How would a self taught beginning designer persuade a mentor to teach them?

To find out what I told Gabriel you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week LibreStock.com

LibreStock is a meta search engine that scans and indexes the stock photos from 40+ different websites. They provide the biggest searchable database of free high-quality stock photos on the internet. All the photos indexed on LibreStock are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. this means you can use these pictures freely for any legal purpose.
Free for commercial & personal use, You can modify copy and distribute, No attribution required

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com